How To Keep Your Lights On During A Hurricane Blackout Or Almost Any Natural Disaster
If you have a typical grid-tied solar energy system, your solar power will not work during a power outage. The only way around this is to use solar battery storage.
While it may seem frustrating to generate your own power from the sun and yet still lose it during a blackout, the reason is because your solar energy system is tied to the grid, unless you have an off-grid system which most people do not.
Being tied to the grid means you can still draw power from the utility, and if you have net metering, you can also send power back to it as well.
During a power outage, your solar power system is automatically shut off as a safety measure to prevent what is called islanding. When the power goes out, workers have to go out to the power lines to make repairs. If solar powered buildings were still actively generating power and sending it to the grid, there would be a huge power surge when the power gets turned back on and could potentially injure an electrical lineman, so your power gets shut off as a safety measure.
Can Solar Power Be Used During Power Outage
Unfortunately, solar power on its own cannot be used during power outages simply because most solar energy systems are considered grid-tied solar systems. Therefore, you will need backup options to keep your home working as it should. That being said, off-grid solar systems can work during a power outage, but these systems are costly.
Understanding Solar Panel Inverters
A basic PV setup wont power your home during an outage. But there are components you can install to ensure your power stays onat least for a bit. First up: Specialized inverters. Some companies offer inverters with secure power supply features that allow some energy to still come into your home during an outage. That power is usually delivered through a single, small outlet that is part of the inverter. In the past, the power supply created was just enough to power a few key appliances. Also important to note: the power was only available during the day while the sun was shining.
However, a few companies are working on smart inverters that regulate power usage, even during an outage. Glaser notes that these inverters will allow homeowners to more easily control power usage and provide power during blackouts. Once these systems are available, you will be able to power more than just a few appliances when the sun is shining, as they have advanced functionality to work in harmony with your home’s power demands, Glaser says.
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Solar Plus Storage = Energy Preparedness
Storing solar energy means that youll always have power when you need it. Backup batteries do a lot more than keep your refrigerator running. They power life-saving medical equipment, pump well water, and keep air-conditioning systems operational during heat waves. When you invest in solar power with backup battery storage, youll always have electricity during blackouts.
Power Through Blackouts With A Solar Battery
Power through blackouts with a clean, reliable solar battery like Brightbox and take control of your energy storage. By diverting the excess solar energy your panels create to your battery and backup panel, you can power essential appliances and the most important rooms in your home.
While a generator sometimes offers a temporary solution in the face of a blackout, it runs on dirty fossil fuels, can be disruptive and at worst dangerous.4 Brightbox makes energy independence safe, simple and hassle-free. You also have the freedom to choose what and how much you want to backup in case of an outage.
Brightbox is more than just solar battery storageits a holistic service that puts the power in your hands. Our Solar Guarantee comes with 24/7 monitoring and maintenance so you wont be left in the dark.
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How Does My Solar Energy System Work
Solar energy is powered by solar panels. These panels absorb the suns energy in order to create direct current electricity. However, since most establishments and houses run on alternate current electricity, DC electricity is converted to AC electricity through an inverter. Once solar energy is converted to AC electricity, it powers your home. Therefore, solar panels cannot serve as a backup if AC electricity goes out during inclement weather or other events.
Additionally, solar energy cannot be used in the case of a power outage in order to protect utility repairmen working to restore power. If electricity is back-feeded while utility repairmen are working on the lines, it could be dangerous or even fatal.
Allpowers Monsterx 2000w 1500wh Portable Power Station
MonsterX is the largest portable solar generator in Allpowers stable, and it is very versatile. It can be charged and used around the home, out of a vehicle, or boat and is excellent for camping.
Its weight might initially put you off 31.97lbs/14.5Kg, but its capabilities will make you think again. Because this unit is potent for its size and super handy for providing real power in emergency situations.
|MonsterX 2000W Solar Generator|
|14.76 × 9.64 × 9.84inch/375 × 245 × 250mm|
The MonsterX provides a capacity of 1500Wh, 405.4Ah, and a 3.7 nominal cell voltage. Follow this link if you want to know more about nominal cell voltage.
Battery cell chemistry is Lithium-Ion managed by an onboard battery management system . The BMS provides overload, overcharging, over-voltage, short circuits, and over-temperature protection.
Information is provided by a built-in LCD screen showing the generators state of charge, recharging rates, and power output. There is a remote control capability via an app you can download to a device like a smartphone. The app supports both IOS and Android.
An industrial design gives it a modern look, but it is of sturdy construction and finished with carrying handles.
There are 11 output ports, including fast charging, and they can all be used at once. But sadly, no micro-USB or wireless charging pad.
Lets take a look at some estimated device running times
- Solar: 5.5mm 200W
Charging 3 ways
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Best Practices During Power Outages
Powerwall brings you energy independence and security, so life in your home can carry on uninterrupted during a grid outage. During a power outage, Powerwall discharges its stored energy to provide power to your home. However, if your Powerwall is off-grid for what may become an extended duration, you may wish to familiarize yourself with the following best practices to extend the backup duration of your system during an outage.
Power During A Grid Outage
Each Powerwall can provide up to 5 kW of continuous power. You can back up any number of appliances, so long as their combined power usage does not exceed the total power rating of your Powerwalls.
Starting some loads with high inrush current during a power outage, like air conditioners and motors, may overload Powerwall and cause it to stop providing power to your home. If this occurs, turn off these loads, and Powerwall will attempt to restart within a minute. Otherwise, consider manually restarting Powerwall, as described below.
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What About Hurricane Outages And Solar Power
Hurricane season is a scary time if you depend on continuous power. Solar batteries are the best investment you can make if you want to keep powering your life during a power outage, including one caused by a hurricane.
If the power gets knocked out, it might be a while before it gets restored. But if you use only your most critical systems, like your refrigerator and communication devices, you can make it through several days using solar battery backups.
In a hurricane power outage, we recommend unplugging all the appliances you wont use, because most of them still draw a little power even when not in use, especially with all the smart appliances now available.
And what if you have batteries and are in the habit of using all your stored solar energy each day, like in #2 and #3 above? When hurricane season nears, stop using it each day and get your batteries up to full capacity. If stormy weather is common and power outages are unpredictable, you will probably always want to keep some power in reserve.
Worried if your solar panels will survive a hurricane? Rest assured, they should be fine.
Solar Production During An Extended Outage
If Powerwall cannot charge at its expected rate, it will signal your solar inverter to reduce or turn off to protect your home from the excessive power produced. This typically occurs when Powerwall is approaching 100% charge. Once Powerwall has the ability to accept power again, your solar inverter will be signaled to produce and will re-start after the qualification period required by your local requirements.
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Advantages Of Using A Grid
The grid-tied solar system features several benefits, including
It is economical
With the grid-tied system, you will save more money since it is very efficient, has net metering, and requires low-cost equipment to install. This system omits the use of a battery, which tends to be very expensive. The best part is that its maintenance cost is very affordable since there are no batteries required.
The grid works as a virtual battery.
There is no doubt that electricity needs to be utilized in real-time. However, this is often not the case thus, you will need to store the extra power. When using the grid system, the grid will act as a virtual battery allowing excess electricity to be kept temporarily as a result, you omit the use of a battery.
What Happens If The Power Goes Out In An Off
If you have an off-grid solar system and the power goes out, this means that youve run out of stored electricity. Since you arent connected to the grid, you cant rely on power from other sources to get you up and running. You will need to wait until your solar panels generate enough electricity to power your home again.
If you lose power during the daytime, then at least you know that your solar panels are immediately working to generate electricity. If you can disconnect non-necessary electrical items, then your essential electrical items will start to work again more quickly. But if your power goes off at night, there is nothing you can do until the sun rises the following day and your panels begin to generate electricity again.
If you run an off-grid system, its a good idea to have some simple backup devices like flashlights, emergency lights, and portable gas heaters.
If your off-grid solar system regularly runs out of power, then either you dont have enough solar panels or you dont have enough battery storage to meet your energy needs. You may need to add more solar panels and more battery storage or consider moving to an on-grid or hybrid solar system.
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Allpowers 100w 154wh Portable Power Bank
The 154Wh power bank is designed to bridge the gap between a full-blown power station and a small power bank.
I feel its a bit too big to fit into a pack for backpacking or hiking. But for use around camp, from your vehicle, days out, at the beach, in the forest, or by a lake, its perfect.
If you live in an apartment where space is at a premium, it can be used during a power outage. Providing some light and charging small electronic devices like a smartphone until mains power returns.
|100w Solar Generator|
The 154Wh is the smallest and lightest Allpowers solar generator with a capacity of 41.6Ah at 3.7 nominal cell voltage. Keeping you and your battery safe is handled by the power stations battery management system.
If you keep the power banks depth of discharge to a maximum of 50%, you should achieve 800 to 1000 life cycles. The built-in LCD display will help you get the most extended life from your generator. As well as showing current DOD, it shows:
- Remaining running hours
- Power going in
- DC watts you are using
- AC watts you are using
About the size of a large hardback book 7.87 x 6.7 x 1.96 inch/20 x 17 x 4.8cm, and weighing 3lbs/1.37Kg. You will find it easy to transport in a vehicle or in a pack for days out picnicking or camping.
TipThe unit doesnt have a built-in light, but you can solve this by plugging a USB light into one of the ports.
Using the inverter, you can power AC appliances like:
- 20w Air pump, 6hrs
154Wh Input Ports
Why Will Most Solar Panels Not Work During Power Outages
Solar panels rely on an ample supply of sunlight to generate electricity that will power your home or business. However, most individuals wonder why their businesses or homes are not powered during a power outage.
This is simply because of how the grid-tied solar power system has been designed to work. When sunlight hits your solar panel, electricity is generated, and then it is passed through an inverter and used in powering your home or business. Moreover, when your solar panel generates excess or more electricity than you require, the extra power will be pushed onto your electric grid. When the electrical grid is down and the solar system is still pushing the excess electricity onto the grid, it might lead to a disaster.
This is because the utility workers will be working on that same power line, fixing the issue, and getting the system back and running. Often they carry out this task with the assumption that the lines have been disconnected. However, the electricity being produced by your solar panel will make the assumption incorrect and can lead to a significant problem. Therefore, for the utility workers to be fully protected along with the grid, your grid-tied solar panel system will automatically be shut down, and once the grid is down, your power will go off.
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Allpowers 500w 606wh Portable Power Station
The 500w is a mid-range solar generator that is great for powering longer camping trips and outings. Recharging with solar panels or in-car charging can extend your adventures by weeks.
It is powerful enough to run a portable fridge overnight and other appliances and devices during the day. If you experience a power cut at home, it will keep your wi-fi going and your devices charged.
|500w Solar Generator|
The 606Wh is well made and durable with a capacity of 164Ah at 3.7 nominal cell voltage. I couldnt find any information about the generators cycles, so I contacted Allpowers. They replied within 3 minutes, saying,
After 800-1000 cycles, the battery capacity drops to 80%. You can still continue to use the battery.
Battery cell chemistry is Lithium-Ion and incorporates a BMS that will take care of any problems. Backed up with a built-in MPPT solar charge controller, you wont have to worry about overcharging.
A handy built-in LCD screen provides you with vital information about the units state of charge etc. To make monitoring your system easier, you can use a BlueTooth wi-fi connection with a downloadable app. Saving you from having to get on your knees to see the information.
The 500w pure sine wave inverter has a peak capacity total of 1000w you will be able to power appliances such as
- 40w mini-fridge, 12-13hrs
- 60w laptop, 8 recharges
606Wh Output Ports
The 606W has 8 output ports that can power up to 9 devices at the same time
Is A Battery Backup Or Inverter Right For You
Before you decide whether a battery backup or inverter is right for you, its important to consider your budget and individual needs. A battery storage system will provide the most power in the event of an outage, but the primary drawback of this solution is its cost. If you live in an area where power outages are relatively uncommon, you may prefer to stick with a net-metering solution and maximize your savings. For many homeowners, an inverter offers a reasonable compromise that can provide a limited amount of power during outages without the hefty costs of a battery backup.
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Solar Power During Blackouts
Scheduled utility blackouts leave millions of Californians without power. Unexpected outages from wildfires, high winds, and storms that knock out the grid are becoming more and more common. Many home and business owners are turning to solar for backup power, however, few of them realize that grid-tied solar panels will get turned off when grid power goes out.
Why Do Power Outages Happen
Lightning is the main cause of outages, but other weather related occurrences like heavy winds, rain, snow or ice also could wipe out your power.
Car accidents can also lead to power outages if poles or power lines are damaged.
And if natural causes werent enough, your utility company regularly plans routine outages for maintenance. Even one tiny squirrel could wipe out energy for an entire neighborhood!
All these reasons are just regular things. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes or other natural disasters, you know the damage that is caused by being out of power for days, weeks or months. And in the recent years, events that lead to blackouts have been on the rise.
Power outages when youre grid-tied are a way of life, but there is a way out.
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